Melaka – Lady Gaga & a 15th century port

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I had a few days left in Kuala Lumpur and decided to slot in a quick visit to the city of Melaka.  I was not disappointed.  Melaka is a beautiful little city situated on the Straits of Melaka, brimming with historical importance, museums, art, beautiful architecture,  the best food and the  trishaws! What not to love!!

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Visitors to the city cannot escape the amazingly fanciful trishaws. These are known locally as “Beca” and are collected around the clock tower. They are vibrantly adorned with bright flowers (and hello kitty teddy bears) and are often accompanied by loud incongruous euro pop music. I literally stopped in my tracks and burst out laughing the first time I saw one of these whiz past me – where does Lady Gaga and hello kitty fit into a 15th century port I ask?

“Where does Lady Gaga fit into a 15th century port?”

Speaking to local people however, it seems it was not so long ago that the Beca was used as general public transport. They were an ideal way to navigate the beautiful maze like long and narrow streets. Families used to crowd into the Beca urging the “uncle” to cycle faster but stopping to help him push up the hill. If you take a ride in a Beca (which you should do) ask for the music to be switched off and you can talk to the “uncle” who will tell you about his Melaka. Do keep an eye out however as you may still see an original unadorned Beca (but all the more beautiful and elegant for it I think) and powered by an “uncle” dropping an “aunty” home with her shopping.

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Melaka is incredibly easy to reach from KL. I simply hopped on a train from KL Sentral to the Terminal Bersepadu Selatan bus station and arrived within 2 hours. I booked my bus ticket the day before (MYR 10) although I understand that you  can book a ticket on the  day and the service runs late into the night.

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Arriving at the bus station in Melaka most places to stay are situated in the old chinese district in and around Jonker Street. I grabbed a taxi into town and this should not generally cost more than MYR 20.

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